Early Marriage Essay

4557 Words Sep 3rd, 2010 19 Pages
1. Introduction

Marriage, as a fundamental social and cultural institution and as the most common milieu for bearing and rearing children, profoundly shapes sexual behaviours and practices. It is undeniable that early marriage is a controversial yet hot topic that gets the attention of the professionals across many fields such as economy, psychology and sociology. The age at first marriage variegates across the globe. Being married before the age of 18 has been a social norm in third world countries [refer to Appendix A]. The percentage of women being married before age 18 is estimated from 20 to 50 percent in average in developing countries (Joyce, et al., 2001).

But then, developed countries are unlikely to experience
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(2001). Future Options Foreclosed: Girls Who Marry Early. Reproductive Health and Rights.139-143. Retrieved January 25, 2008, from the World Wide Web: http://www.path.org/files/RHR-Article-14.pdf.

3. Major Factors That Lead to Early Marriage

The reasons leading to the immense number of youngsters that marry in most developing countries varies. Poverty is one of the main factors underpinning early marriage (Joyce, 2001). A young girl is regarded as an economic burden to a poor family, thus early marriage is considered as a strategy for economic survival. A recent study of five very poor villages in Egypt shows that young girls are being married off to much older men from oil-rich Middle Eastern countries for family survival (UNICEF, 2001).

Besides, early marriage is one way to vouch that a girl is secured from physical and sexual harassments (UNICEF, 2001). Many parents from different beliefs and customs regard that early marriage is essential to safeguard their daughters from these abuses. For instance, some families in Northern Uganda encourage their young girls to marry militia members in order to secure protection (UNICEF, 2001).

Furthermore, as reported by Mathur in her report, they emphasized that gender roles is one of the main causes of the occurrence of early matrimony. (Mathur, S, et al 2003) A study conducted shows that in major culture of the developing countries, the transition age of a girl from children to

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